Monday! Its Latina Lunes again. Don Azpiazu introduced authentic Cuban music to US audiences when his Havana Casino Orchestra travelled to New York to cut El Manisero “The Peanut Vendor” for Victor Records in 1930. The record started a rhumba craze which lasted until the 1940s although this music is technically not a rhumba. This catchy song became one of the biggest selling Cuban hits in history. Azpiazu had star musicians Julio Cueva on trumpet, Mario Bauza on sax and singer Antonio Machin in his orchestra. He also used American singers such as Chick Bullock to help popularize his music and paved the way for later Cuban bands like Xavier Cugat and Desi Arnaz.
El Manisero is based on a street pregon or “shout”. The song has been recorded at least 150 times by the biggest names in entertainment starting with Louis Armstrong. The song has sold over a million copies of sheet music for the E B Marks Company. The song was first recorded by Rita Montener for Columbia in 1928 and had been composed by Moises Simons, the son of a Basque musician living in Cuba. The royalties from this one song made Simons a wealthy man. Peanut Vendor was a million seller for Victor, was the #1 song in 1931 and was the first million selling Cuban 78 record.
In Cuba each merry morn, wake up to this serenade
Peanuts~they’re nice and hot-peanuts~ I sell a lot
If you haven’t got bananas don’t be blue~
Peanuts in a little bag are calling you.
If you’re looking for an early morn treat
Get some double jointed peanuts~good to eat
A merry twinkle in his eye
he’s got a way that makes you buy.
English lyrics by Marion Sunshine and Wolfe Gilbert
Spanish lyrics by Moises Simons